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Dystopian Literature and the Sociological Imagination

Davison-Vecchione, Daniel and Seeger, SA (2019) 'Dystopian Literature and the Sociological Imagination.' Thesis Eleven, 155 (1). 45 - 63. ISSN 0725-5136

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This article argues that sociologists would benefit from taking dystopian literature seriously. This is because (i) the speculation in dystopian literature tends to be more grounded in empirical social reality than in the case of utopian literature, and (ii) the literary conventions of the dystopia more readily illustrate the relationship between the inner life of the individual and the greater whole of social-historical reality. These conventional features make dystopian literature especially attuned to how historically-conditioned social forces shape the inner life and personal experience of the individual, and how acts of individuals can, in turn, shape the social structures in which they are situated. In other words, dystopian literature is a potent exercise of what C Wright Mills famously termed ‘the sociological imagination’.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: dystopia, imagination, sociology, speculative literature, utopia
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2019 13:59
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2020 21:15

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